A Newtownabbey teenager is considering himself lucky after pickpocketing his way into Fagin’s gang in the Grand Opera House production of Oliver.
Hazelwood Integrated College pupil Corey O’Loan, 14, is set to step into the limelight in the popular production, which kicks off on Tuesday September 30.
A total of 65 children will take to the stage on alternate nights, accompanied by Irish National Award winners Brian Trainor as Fagin, Gerry McBrien as Mr. Bumble and Jillian Liggett as Mrs. Sowerberry. Also making his stage debut will be two-year-old English bull terrier Loki, who is starring as Bill Sikes’ faithful canine companion ‘Bullseye.’
Corey’s proud mum Dora told The Times that her son’s latest musical role as a pickpocket in Fagin’s gang isn’t the first time he has tread the boards. She revealed: “In June Corey played Bill Flynn in the Theatre at The Mill’s production of Chicago.
“But corey’s latest role is the first time he has done auditions, which he was excited about.
“His interest in acting started last year and he is a member of the Belfast School of Performing Arts. He loves acting.”
In order to prepare for his role in Oliver!, Corey has been rehearsing on three days a week throughout the summer, a commitment which has meant his family have had to forego their summer holiday.
However, his mother says that his love of acting has allowed him to develop skills and confidence which will stand him in good stead for the future. She explained: “It’s great to see him up on stage.I never thought I would have a child interested in the performing arts.
“It’s a fantastic hobby as it builds skills for life-when he’s on stage he’s using team work, his own initiative, presentation and communication skills-these are all things that he will need for any career.
“I’ve noticed a major change in his personality-he would have been more shy and retiring, into playing on his Playstation and Xbox.
“Now he has the confidence he is able to talk to people and has developped his skills-it’s a great opportunity for any child.”
To the amusement of his mum, Corey has also been taught some skills which he definitely wouldn’t learn at school.
She laughed: “He has been getting pick pocketing lessons courtesy of the Crescent Arts centre! So people walking around near the Abbey Centre had better watch out!”
Oliver! will run at Belfast’s Grand Opera House from Tuesday September 30 - Saturday October 4.
For more information and to book tickets visit www.goh.co.uk or telephone the box office on 028 9024 1919.